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Posted by on January 17, 2014

In 1782, during the final clashes of the Revolutionary War, one of our young nation’s most valiant and beloved soldiers was, secretly, a woman.

When Deborah Samson disguised herself as a man and joined the Continental Army, she wasn’t just fighting for America’s independence—she was fighting for her own. Revolutionary, Alex Myers’s richly imagined and meticulously researched debut novel, brings the true story of Deborah’s struggle against a rigid colonial society back to life—and with it the courage, hope, fear, and heartbreak that shaped her journey through a country’s violent birth.

After years as an indentured servant in a sleepy Massachusetts town, chafing under the oppressive norms of colonial America, Deborah can’t contain her discontent any longer. When a sudden crisis forces her hand, she decides to finally make her escape. Embracing the peril and promise of the unknown, she cuts her hair, binds her chest, and, stealing clothes from a neighbor, rechristens herself Robert Shurtliff. It’s a desperate, dangerous, and complicated deception, and becomes only more so when, as Robert, she enlists in the Continental Army.

What follows is an inspiring, one-of-a-kind journey through an America torn apart by war: brutal winters and lethal battlefields, the trauma of combat and the cruelty of betrayal, the joy of true love and the tragedy of heartbreak. In his brilliant Revolutionary, Myers, who himself is a descendant of the historical Deborah, takes full advantage of this real-life heroine’s unique voice to celebrate the struggles for freedom, large and small, like never before

Those who know me well know how much of a fan of the revolution I am. In turn they also know how picky I can be about books set in the era and how I often lament the lack of good, readable and accurate books that take place during this nations forming. After reading Revolutionary by Alex Myers, I am no longer lamenting. This book was simply put one of the finest historical fictions on the Revolutionary war I have ever read.

The story of Deborah Samson may not be known by as many as say the story of General George Washington, but to those who know it like me, we love it. It has been an honor and a privilege to read such a well told fictional account of the time in her life that made her become a soldier. From a woman who was seen as strong willed straining at the bit to break free from the reigns of confinement to a man, a good soldier who served loyally and bravely for the freedom of this country every word is placed with purpose and intent. For me personally it was one little detail that stood out the most that just gave that extra little push to making me believe in this whole story, the use of he and she. As the story comes from Deborah’s point of you would expect to always see she being used, however I noticed in the moments where Deborah truly became Robert and felt more closely with Robert the wording became he. That makes sense to me I get that. Just as towards the end when Robert starts to feel more like Deborah again we see she come back into play, a small detail that some might not even notice as they read the action of the story but I did and I appreciate it.

While as with any historical fiction there are some playing with facts here and there overall I cannot fault the accuracy of Revolutionary. From the uniforms to the way that the drills and firing of the musket are described it all rings true and right well researched. This book gets a highly recommend from me because it is truly a master piece of the Revolutionary war, telling a story that many in this world today will still connect with now.

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